The Iowa Attorney General’s office says a marketing company has been playing on parent pride and using the governor’s office to push people to spend money on trips for their kids. A-G spokesman, Geoff Greenwood, says the marketing company for “People to People International” would send letters to people saying their child had been specially chosen to take a trip with the group.
Greenwood says they were concerned that the letters led recipients to believe that People to People, and perhaps the governor — had chosen their kid to go on the trip based on some kind of achievement.
He says they found that despite the claims of the marketing company, the kids are targeted simply because of their age. “If they’re the right age, or the right year in school and they have a checkbook, they qualify,” Greenwood says. Greenwood says the letters are flattering to the parents.
“Parents who normally would not or they could not pay the thousand dollars for these trips may feel pressured to sign up simply because of the way they have been marketed,” Greenwood says “and the parents might think that this is some special honor for their child, and what parent wants to say no when a company claims your child somehow earned this big trip.” The Spokane, Washington company has agree to changes.
Greenwood says they are not putting a stop to the trips, but they are making the company change the way it markets the trips. He says they company can’t exaggerate the reasons for the trip. Greenwood says the company can’t say it is extended a special travel opportunity because the child has achieved some special recognition, honor or skill. They also can’t say that the trip is affiliated a non-profit group or affiliated with the governor’s office.
See an example of one of the letters here: P2P marketing letter PDF